Meet the new boss … same as the old boss

Filed under: Retail |

Maggie Mae’s restaurant, a mainstay of Colorado Springs, has a new owner – but the same management team.

Chuck Graybill, who has managed the diner for nine years, bought the building that houses the restaurant.

“Our lease was up,” he said. “We were going to buy another property, but had some trouble. So, for a lot of reasons, we just made an offer on this building.”

Graybill paid $625,000 for the 5,501-square-foot building at 2405 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

Graybill considered purchasing Navaho Hogan on Nevada Avenue, but there were problems with vandals looting the inside of the former restaurant and other issues.

“So, the good news is that we’re not moving. We’re going to be in the same location we’ve always been in,” he said. “The bad news – we have some renovations to do.”

Maggie Mae’s will close for a week in June to remodel the ceilings and the kitchen, he said. No other major changes are planned.

The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and is a tradition for many people in Colorado Springs. Open since 1968, the restaurant has many loyal customers.

“We have one lady who comes every day for breakfast,” Graybill said. “And she knows so many people who also come in – some days she stays for lunch.”

Survey: Commercials less important during Super Bowl

With nearly 145 million people nationwide expected to watch the Super Bowl this year, advertisers will be doing their best to impress on Feb. 5. And because consumer demographics have changed, they’ll have their work cut out for them.

According to the 2006 Super Bowl Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey, conducted by BIGresearch for the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association (a division of the National Retail Federation), consumers are expected to spend about the same amount on Super Bowl-related purchases as they did last year – about $49.27. Overall spending for the Super Bowl in 2006 is expected to reach $5.3 billion, compared to $5.6 billion in 2005.

While 33.6 percent of survey respondents said the game is still the biggest draw, commercials play a major role as to why fans tune in. This year, only 15.3 percent of the survey respondents said that commercials were the most important part of the Super Bowl. Others said they watch the big game to socialize or see the halftime show.

The biggest challenge to advertisers is the shifting demographics of consumers watching the commercials.

Young adults, who last year found the commercials more important than the game, have shifted their focus to the action on the field rather than the entertainment aspect of the commercials. The coveted 18-to-24 age group is less likely to watch the game for commercials this year (18.5 percent) compared to 2005 (24.5 percent).

“With young adults redirecting their focus toward the game this year, advertisers are going to be pulling out all of the stops to attract their attention,” said Mike Gatti, executive vice president of RAMA. “Knowing the impact of Super Bowl commercials on branding, we can expect to see nothing less than the best-of-the-best.”

According to the survey, consumers will use the Super Bowl as an excuse to upgrade their home entertainment systems. Consumers expect to purchase 1.7 million new televisions compared to 1.4 million in 2005. Comfort and lounging also is becoming more important. Consumers expect to buy about 800,000 pieces of furniture, compared to 530,000 last year.

Football fans plan to enjoy this year’s Super Bowl festivities in a variety of ways. Nearly a quarter of those polled plan to attend a party and one-in-10 plans to host a party. It is expected that 8.3 million consumers will be enjoying the game from their favorite bar or restaurant.

“Retailers look forward to the Super Bowl every year, knowing that it means big business,” said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for BIGresearch. “Home electronics and team apparel sales are sure to beef up retailers’ revenue as consumers hit the stores in anticipation of Super Bowl Sunday.”

U.S. chain sales up 0.3 percent last week

Christmas came late to some U.S. national chains, as January sales improved compared to last year, according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.

Consumers continued to cash in gift cards, increasing sales for the week ending Jan. 21 0.3 percent from the week before, said Michael P. Niemira, chief economist and director of research for ICSC. Sales increased 3.3 percent compared to the same period last year, he said.

“This past week, the sales pace improved slightly, but consumer spending was on track for a somewhat stronger performance, despite the renewed worries from higher fuel prices and some recent and large announced job layoffs,” Niemira said.

The increase in chain sales followed a week of weaker sales, when totals dropped 1.4 percent for the week ending Jan. 14, Niemira said. Warm weather, weak consumer confidence and higher gas prices were to blame, he said.

“Despite the results this past week, industry sales are still expected to rise by 3 percent to 3.5 percent on a year-over-year basis for January,” Niemira said.

Amy Gillentine covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.